Part 1…Graduation party tonight…What is a “Walking Taco?”…30 food trends from the past decade…

Avocado toast.
Avocado toast. AlexPro9500/iStock. Not our photo.

Tonight is our grandson Vincent’s graduation party. I can’t recall the last time we went to a grad party. But a lot has changed since we left Minnesota almost 12 years ago, including food trends, many of which we haven’t been exposed to in our worldwide travels.

As always, the US is a trendsetter in many ways. We thought it would be fun to explore some of the changes we’ve encountered the longer we’ve been in the US, especially when dining out and attending events.

Vincent’s grad party is no exception when the primary food offering will be “walking tacos.” I giggled when I asked Tammy what was being served to see if I needed to bring something that would suit my way of eating. Since it is an outdoor party at a park, it wouldn’t be weird if I packed something for myself.

matcha green tea

A matcha latte. Pixabay. Not our photo.

Of course, I wouldn’t embarrass myself by bringing my food to a restaurant or someone’s home other than family who don’t care what I bring. Besides, most restaurants can accommodate me when I eat meat, chicken or fish, vegetables, and salad. Every restaurant can serve these without sauces and crumbed coatings.

After Tammy described a walking taco, I looked it up online to find it’s a popular item served at parties in the US that has become popular in the past decade. What is a “walking taco.” I found this perfect description that explains it better than I would have:

“So-called for how easy it is to wander around with them in hand, Walking Tacos are bags of snack-size Fritos—and/or Doritos or any kinds of chips, really—that are garnished with a variety of taco or nacho toppings. The garnishes, ranging from meat to cheese to guacamole, are added right in the bag.”

I don’t suppose the meat and garnishes are added ahead of time since the chips would become very soggy. Also, I imagine they are served with a fork since it would be too messy to tip the bag’s contents into one’s mouth. Nonetheless, I will take photos tonight and post them tomorrow. It’s quite a cute idea for casual events.

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A smoked cocktail at a bar in Portland, Maine. Portland Press Herald / Contributor. Not our photo.

Here are food trends in the past decade found in this article:

Rainbow bagels and pastries changed how we eat desserts. Instagram and other social media platforms have opened the doors for more photogenic foods — nothing is more photogenic than a rainbow-colored bagel.

Avocado toast has become synonymous with the 2010s and millennials. Avocado toast is exactly what it sounds like — simply smashed avocado spread on toast. It often comes with eggs and spices. 

Milk alternatives such as oat milk, soy milk, and various nut milk have spiked in popularity.

Acai bowls topped with granola and fresh fruit became a popular wellness trend. Pronounced “ah-sah-ee,” the acai bowl craze spawned the popular chain Playa Bowls, which now has 65 locations. 

Kombucha has cemented itself as a popular health drink. Kombucha is made by fermenting tea, often infused with other flavors. In fact, because of the fermentation process, kombucha is slightly alcoholic, coming in at less than 0.5% ABV. 

Activated charcoal turned everything from ice cream to cocktails black. .At one point in the 2010s, foods made with activated charcoal began to replace those popular rainbow items. Everything from ice cream to cocktails was made with the ingredients, and it was even the center of the “50 Shades of Charcoal” festival in the summer of 2018. It has since been banned as a food additive in New York City. 

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Milkshakes from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Not our photo.

Matcha, a specific kind of green tea, is known for its health benefits and vivid green color. Matcha has been around for centuries, but the fad food began taking over menus and Instagram feeds around 2016. The flavor was soon incorporated into everything from candy to baked goods

Poke bowls usually feature raw fish, rice, and various vegetables. The dish was everywhere in the summer of 2016, with Hawaiian restaurants all over New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and several other cities. 

Elaborate cocktail creations, including smoked cocktails, also hit the scene across the country. Many mixologists impart a smoky flavor into their cocktails by burning different herbs and wood chips in or around the glass. 

Meat alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat burger, have turned the fast-food industry on its head. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper and Dunkin’s Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich are examples of fast-food companies shifting to plant-based meat alternatives due to increasing consumer demand. 

Coconut oil — as a cooking ingredient and as a wellness cure-all — became a popular alternative to other cooking oils. Though coconut oil contains lots of saturated fats, it has roughly the same amount of calories per tablespoon as olive oil and is often found in moisturizers and hair-care products.

poke bowl
A poke bowl with red onion, cucumber, salmon, masago, edamame, and sesame seeds. Not our photo.

Wild, over-the-top desserts also made a splash. Massive milkshakes, giant sundaes, and elaborate waffle creations made waves in the 2010s. 

Latte art made a splash as coffee culture intensified. Latte art, or art made using espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk to make images in foam, took over social media for a spell in the mid-2010s. 

Hard seltzer will go down as one of the biggest trends of the 2010s, with consumers flocking to the lower-calorie boozy beverage. The summer of 2019 was the summer of hard seltzer. The boozy beverage was so beloved that there was even a national shortage of White Claw, the most popular hard seltzer brand. 

The fast-casual explosion hit its stride with chains such as Sweetgreen and Shake Shack. Fast-casual restaurants lie somewhere between fast-food and full-service, meaning they usually don’t offer table service with a waitstaff but are generally regarded as having higher quality food than the average fast-food restaurant. 

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the next 15 food trends of the past decade and photos of a “walking taco.”

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 7, 2014:

There were puffs of fog on the road to Funchal, Madeira, as shown in the left lane. For more photos, please click here.

Comments and responses Part 1…Graduation party tonight…What is a “Walking Taco?”…30 food trends from the past decade…

  1. Pam Reply

    Back in the day here in Texas you could get a “Frito pie” which was a small bag of Fritos cut open on the side and topped with chili, cheese and onions. You ate it right out of the bag with a spoon. It was popular at school sports events. It was good going down but frequently required an antacid later. LOL!!

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Pam, that’s almost identical to what everyone had last night at Vincent’s graduation party. I was able to make a salad with taco seasoned meat. It was great. Thanks for writing.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

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